Alvin The Valiant and His Incredible Journey
What would you do if you cheated death by days? If certain demise had suddenly turned to reprieve by unseen hand? Would you live as if it were a gift? Would you make the bucket list and begin the adventures of one living the bonus round? Here is Alvin, and here is his story. AND his bucket list!
I first met Alvin in a Mopar (Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge) - centric wrecking yard in Niederwald, Texas. Having a fleet of decrepit Dodges & Plymouths, I was on a first name basis with the guy who ran it. When I got a call that they were done, the land was going to be sold and that everything was going to be crushed so "Come get what you want", I saddled up the ol' Econoline and headed out determined to grab some goodies.
On the way there I realized this was my chance; my chance to earn that real car guy merit badge and rescue a car from a junkyard to get running again. Though I knew this place was fairly picked over, I began thinking of old Chargers or maybe an old van. Nope. Everything there was big chunks of nothing left held together by rust. Then on my way out, I saw him sitting there, sunk into the dry Texas ground.
Quite possibly the least desirable Mopar on the planet, a 4-door 1962 Plymouth Valiant. But he was complete and intact! Nobody had even wanted parts off of him. In a classic Scott "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" moment of crazy stray cat empathy for the unwanted, I put my hand on his fender and said, "You're coming home with me. I'm going to save you. You will not be crushed." A deal was made, and days later the car arrived at my driveway - the same day Alvin Lee from the band Ten Years After died. This date and Alvin being almost an anagram of Valiant, and there you have it. Alvin The Valiant.
So, the question - WHAT WOULD YOU DO? What would you dream of if you were a car that had been left for dead and saved? Well, those are the things Alvin is destined for after a little love & resurrection. If I were he, on gravy time and now fearless, here's what I'd want to do:
And, here are the places I'd want to see:
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Ocala FL